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Teagasc Options Workshops to Provide Farm Families with New Thinking

What are the options for increasing family farm income? Are they through on-farm efficiencies or through diversification? To help farmers make wise financial decisions and inspire diversification ideas, Teagasc are organising a series of “Options” workshops for farm families at 12 locations throughout the country this autumn.

The first workshop commences at the Lord Bagenal Hotel, Leighlinbridge, Co. Carlow on Tuesday, 30 September. All workshops commence at 7.30pm.

Other locations and start dates include, Teagasc office, Thurles (Wednesday, 1 October), Teagasc office, Dungarvan (Tuesday, 7 October), Teagasc office, Longford (Wednesday, 8 October), Teagasc office, Naas (Tuesday, 14 October), FORUM Connemara, Letterfrack (Wednesday, 15 October), Teagasc office, Monaghan (Tuesday, 21 October), Teagasc office, Ballina (Wednesday, 22 October), Teagasc office, Ballymote (Thursday, 23 October), Ballylickey, Bantry  (Tuesday, 28 October), Cork Marts, Fermoy (Wednesday, 29 October), Teagasc office, Newcastlewest (Thursday, 30 October).

Each workshop will consist of 5 sessions run over five consecutive weeks and will include visits to local farms and entrepreneurs who have succeeded in diversifying their farming activities. Topics covered at the workshops will include:

•    assessing your enterprise
•    developing your idea
•    family farm finances
•    farm succession planning
•    food enterprise possibilities
•    rural tourism
•    energy crops/ forestry
•    organic opportunities
•    alternative land use options
•    a business plan - the basics
•    applying for grant aid
     and more.......

Brendan Allen of the award winning Castlemine Farm and Head of Programme Development for Rural Entrepreneurship at the UCD Innovation Academy will open the workshops at each location. Other speakers will include Teagasc enterprise advisors/specialists along with local development company, local enterprise board and bank representatives. In addition, farmers and successful rural entrepreneurs will be present to tell their own story.

Speaking in advance of the first workshop at Leighlinbridge, Co. Carlow. Stephen Eivers, Teagasc Options co-ordinator for the workshop said: “While the priority on many farms is to improve the technical performance of the existing farm enterprise, on others there may be opportunities to add value to farm output or to diversify into other activities.” The purpose of this series of national workshops is to give information on a range of options which may help improve income. That way, participants will be in a better position to assess which, if any, may have a role on their farm”.

All farmers and farm family members are welcome to attend. Workshops are free of charge but prior booking is essential. There will be a small fee for a bus to the farm walks.

For booking and further details go to www.teagasc.ie/events or contact any local Teagasc office.